Food & Drink

Only the best: Locals recommend their absolute favorite restaurants in Manatee County

Everybody has that one restaurant.

It’s the place where the food is amazing, you always have a good time and you feel at home.

We asked members of our Facebook group Manatee Eats to fill us in on their absolute favorite restaurant in Manatee County.

Here are the results.

Try them for yourself and see if you agree.

enrich bistro
Goat cheese bruschetta is offered on the lunch, dinner and cocktail menus at enRich Bistro in Bradenton. Courtesy of enRich Bistro

enRich Bistro

For a fine-dining feel without the astronomical prices, enRich Bistro in Bradenton is the place to go.

The restaurant prepares innovative dishes using local ingredients.

Manatee High School graduate and head chef Rich Knowles gained culinary experience across the country before returning to Bradenton and opening enRich.

The laid-back lunch menu features lots of salads (try “The Calamari Salad” or “Jumbo Lump Crab Cake Salad”), fish and chips, a filet tip Philly cheesesteak, “Bradenton’s Best Cuban,” tacos, sandwiches, wraps and the “USDA Prime Cheeseburger.”

The dinner menu is a bit pricier, but more refined, with options such as duck roasted with a soy and mango glaze, pork ribeye, seared yellowfin tuna and roasted black bean and corn cakes (vegetarian and gluten free).

There are daily dinner specials to keep you coming back, and the restaurant hosts live music on Tuesday nights.

Address: enRich Bistro is at 5629 Manatee Ave. W. in Bradenton.

Info: enrichbistro.com.

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Cinnamon-dusted crispy half duck and broiled Maine lobster at Michael John’s Restaurant in Bradenton. Bradenton Herald File Photo

Michael John’s Restaurant

Michael John’s Restaurant is another spot for an elevated dining experience in Bradenton.

John is a French-trained chef who applies his technique to classic American eats.

First and foremost is steak. The kitchen serves up Iowa grass-fed beef that is aged 12 to 14 days and then corn and grain finished.

The restaurant also offers daily specials and tapas and vegetarian menus.

Address: Michael John’s Restaurant is at 1040 Carlton Arms Blvd. in Bradenton.

Info: michaeljohnsrestaurant.com.

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O’Brick’s has homey dishes such as wings, fried green tomatoes, fish tacos, burgers and chicken sandwiches, plus some intriguing touches, including eggplant roulade, grilled chicken topped with goat cheese and blackened shrimp pasta. Bradenton Herald File Photo

O’Bricks Irish Pub and Martini Bar

O’Bricks combines casual comfort with a fun menu that’s all over the place in a good way.

It’s no wonder the Old Main Street eatery is always bustling.

The restaurant has homey dishes such as wings, fried green tomatoes, fish tacos, burgers and chicken sandwiches, plus some intriguing touches, including eggplant roulade, grilled chicken topped with goat cheese and blackened shrimp pasta.

And “martini bar” is in the restaurant’s name for a reason; don’t leave without sipping on one of their craft cocktails.

Address: O’Bricks is at 427 12th St. W. in Bradenton.

Info: obricks.com.

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Manatee County residents can’t seem to get enough of the cafe’s breakfast, brunch and lunch offerings; the kitchen excels at all three. Bradenton Herald File Photo

Sage Biscuit Café

Sage Biscuit Café tends to show up on our lists of locally recommended restaurants a lot.

Manatee County residents can’t seem to get enough of the cafe’s breakfast, brunch and lunch offerings; the kitchen excels at all three.

Here you’ll find something for everyone, with healthy salads and soups, decadent waffles and burgers, seafood dishes and plenty of vegan and vegetarian options.

Address: The Sage Biscuit Café is located at 6656 Cortez Road W. in Bradenton and at 1401 Manatee Ave. W. in Bradenton.

Info: sagebiscuitbradenton.com.

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Stone crab claws at the Star Fish Company Seafood Market and Restaurant in Cortez. Bradenton Herald file photo

Star Fish Company

Star Fish Company started out as a seafood wholesaler in the fishing village of Cortez in the 1920s. 

At this point, it’s a trusted community establishment.

Opened in the 1990s, the restaurant operation of Star Fish Company has also topped our lists for seafood and waterfront dining in Manatee County.

The Cortez eatery offers amazing vistas in a totally relaxed setting.

As for the seafood, it speaks for itself; so grab a beer and a picnic bench and enjoy.

Address: Star Fish Company is at 12306 46th Ave. W. in Cortez.

Info: starfishcompany.com.

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Dinner for four at Château 13 Restaurant & Wine Bar, 535 13th St. W., Bradenton. provided photo

Favorite new restaurant: Château 13

Château 13 opened its doors in February, and it’s already impressing a lot of locals.

It’s a sweet spot to visit for a romantic dinner or a few drinks and some light bites.

The menu reflects French, Spanish, Italian and Belgian influences, but with a Bradenton twist, management told the Bradenton Herald earlier this year.

Sample fine cheeses and charcuterie or dive into entrees such as stews, steaks and seafood.

Address: Château 13 is at 535 13th St W. in Bradenton.

Info: chateau-13.com.

Other recommendations:

A Casa Tua, 8799 Cortez Road W., Bradenton

Anna Maria Oyster Bar, 6906 14th St. W., Bradenton; 6696 Cortez Road, Cortez; 1525 51st Ave, E., Ellenton; 200 Bridge St., Bradenton Beach

Brancato’s Brick Oven Pizza, 5227 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton

Bella Mia Pizza & Italian Restaurant, 5917 Manatee Ave. W. # 401, Bradenton

Captain Brian’s Seafood Market & Restaurant, 8421 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

Carmen’s Italian Cafe, 515 27th St. E., Bradenton

China City Express, 810 First St. W., Bradenton

Cody’s Original Roadhouse, 895 Cortez Road W., Bradenton

Cortez Clam Factory, 10104 Cortez Road W., Bradenton

Danny’s Pizzeria, 7220 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton

Eat Organico, 4832 Cortez Road W., Bradenton

Restaurant Edelweiss, 611 Manatee Ave. E., Bradenton

El Warike, 4226 26th St. W., Bradenton

Euphemia Haye, 5540 Gulf of Mexico Dr., Longboat Key

Hungry Howie’s Pizza and Salad Bar, 103 301 Blvd. W., Bradenton and 1705 Eighth Ave. W., Palmetto

Jennings Downtown Provisions, 417 12th St. W., Bradenton

Joey D’s Chicago Style Eatery, 6401 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton and 945 10th St. E., Palmetto

Minnie’s Beach Cafe, 5360 Gulf Dr., Holmes Beach

Mountain Comforts Coffee Cafe, 3550 53rd Ave. W., Bradenton

Mr. Tequila, 491 Cortez Road W., Bradenton

Ortygia Restaurant, 1418 13th St. W., Bradenton

Rice Bowl Asian House, 7305 52nd Place E., Bradenton

San Remo Pizza & Pasta, 1914 14th St. W., Bradenton

The Sea Hut, 5611 U.S. 19, Palmetto

South Philly Cheesesteaks, 5942 34th St. W. #115, Bradenton and 5442 Lockwood Ridge Rd., Bradenton

Stone Bowl Pan Asian Kitchen, 5516 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton

Tandoor Fine Indian Cuisine, 8453 Cooper Creek Blvd., Bradenton

Thai Wasabi, 5250 E. S.R. 64, Bradenton

The Beach House Restaurant, 200 Gulf Dr. N., Bradenton Beach

The Feast Restaurant, 5406 Marina Dr., Holmes Beach

The Good Liquid Brewing Company, 4824 14th St. W., Bradenton

Tide Tables Restaurant and Marina, 12507 Cortez Road W., Bradenton

Tiramisu Ristorante Italiano, 5215 14th St. W., Bradenton

Villa Italia Cafe, 2808 10th St. W., Palmetto

The Waterfront Restaurant, 111 S. Bay Blvd., Anna Maria

Wings-N-Things, 7640 Lockwood Ridge Road, Sarasota

Wolves Head Pizza and Wings, 1837 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Bradenton

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